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Gingerbread Biscuits

Gingerbread is a real Christmas biscuit, the smell of it wafting through the house is magical! Any item of food that can be decorated without constraint is a winner in my child’s eyes so we decided to bake some Christmas treats that Zoe could get creative with.

Decorated Gingerbread Treats

Gingerbread biscuits gleefully decorated by my 4 year old

Ingredients:

  • 75g soft light brown sugar
  • 75g butter softened
  • 1/2 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 tablespoons of golden syrup
  • 250g of plain cream flour
  • 1 teaspoon of ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon

You will also need some shape cutters

To Prepare:

Cream the butter with an electric hand mixer until soft and then gradually add the sugar and cream until light and well mixed together. Add the bicarbonate of soda, golden syrup, and the egg and continue to mix .

Sift the flour, ginger, and cinnamon into the bowl and mix well using a spoon or a K mixer if using an electric kitchen machine.
Knead the mixture into a ball, then wrap in cling film and put in the fridge for 30 minutes.

To Bake:

Preheat the oven to 180°

Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface until quite thin, not too thin though, it’s nice to have a little weight on them. Using the cutters that you have, (we used gingerbread man and Christmas shapes) cut out the shapes that you wish to have. Place the shapes on a baking sheet covered baking tray and put in the oven for about 15 minutes turning the tray halfway through.

Once the Gingerbread shapes are baked, place them on a wire rack to cool.

Gingerbread Biscuits

Gingerbread Biscuits

To Decorate:

I found some glitter icing gel in the supermarket today so decided to give them a try but my opinion is simple white icing tastes much better. We also used some smarties and coloured balls but you could decorate with  whatever you have in your pantry or my preference, don’t decorate at all, which may not go down too well if you have a budding artist helping you.

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Ice-Cream Birthday Cake

My husband asked me to make him an ice-cream cake for his birthday, no sponge just ice-cream! It is probably the easiest cake I have ever made but it felt wrong not baking anything!

Ice Cream Birthday Cake

Ice Cream Birthday Cake

Ingredients:

  • 2 Litres Vanilla Ice-Cream

To Decorate:

  • Chocolate Buttons
  • Mini-Smarties
  • Milky Bar Discs
  • Hundreds & Thousands

To Make:

Take the ice-cream out of the freezer to let it soften. Get a 21cm Cake tin and line it with cling film with extra dropping over the edges.

When the ice-cream has softened, spoon it into the lined cake tin pushing down to ensure it fills the tin completely.

Cover completely with cling film and place back in the freezer for at least 4 hours.

Take the ice-cream cake out of the freezer, remove the cling film lid and turn it upside down onto a cake board or plate, then remove the rest of the cling film.

Now the Fun bit! Decorating.

Put the decorating ingredients into separate bowls and tell your child to have fun!

You can either serve immediately or put it back in the freezer, the smarties colouring seeps into the cake to make a cool tie died look.

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Teacher’s Pet

If you are thinking of making a Christmas present for your child’s teacher, I have a suggestion: Good Apple Fairy Cakes.

Apple Fairy Cakes for Teacher

Apple Fairy Cakes for Teacher

They are very easy to make.

1st make the Vanilla Fairy Cakes from my previous post up to and including icing them.

To Decorate:

You will need:

  • Red Sugar Paste
  • Brown Sugar Paste
  • Edible Gold Glitter Stars.
  • Edible Glue

You can find the sugar paste in most supermarkets, they are sold in small packs of 250g

The edible glitter I bought in a baking accessory shop, if you don’t have it, you can substitute with hundreds and thousands.

Take a chunk of red sugar paste and roll it into a ball about 3cm in diameter, using a narrow instrument like a bulbulous cone modelling tool or the end of a thin utensil handle, make a small dent in the top of the ball to shape it like an apple.

Repeat for the amount of cakes you are making.

Sugar Paste Apples

Sugar Paste Apples

Next, the apple stalk. Take the brown sugar paste (usually chocolate flavoured so it smells lovely.) pinch a small amount and roll it into a worm shape, then cut into pieces 1cm in length, bend each piece slightly. Using a clean brush, place a small amount of edible glue in the well at the top of each apple and add the stalk.

Sprinkle the gold stars over the top of the cakes and voilà! You’re done!

An Apple for Teacher

An Apple for Teacher

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White Chocolate Ganache Cake

Now this is a great cake to make for very special occasions, it is originally suggested as an Anniversary Cake by Rachel Allen but when I last made it, it was for Easter and with a little imagination you could decorate it to suit more of a Christmas theme.

White Chocolate Ganache Cake

White Chocolate Ganache Cake

Ingredients:

  • butter, softened, for greasing
  • 4 eggs
  • 125 g caster sugar
  • 125 g plain flour, sifted, plus extra for dusting
  • 1.50 teaspoon baking powder
  • 50 g white chocolate, as chips or chopped into pieces
  • Chocolate Flakes and Cadbury’s Mini Eggs to decorate

For the Ganache:

  • 300 ml double or regular cream
  • 400 g white chocolate, in drops or broken into pieces
  • 75 g butter, softened and cut into 2cm cubes

To Make:

First make the ganache. Place the cream in a large saucepan and bring to the boil, stirring occasionally, then immediately remove from the heat and stir in the chocolate.
Stir to melt the chocolate – you may need to place it back over a low heat, just so all the chocolate is melted. Remove from the heat and allow to cool until tepid.
Add the butter to the melted chocolate, a few cubes at a time, beating the mixture until all the butter has been incorporated. Leave in the fridge for about 2 hours, stirring a couple of times as it cools. It should stiffen but still be spreadable.
Make sure to take the ganache out of the fridge at least 30 minutes before icing the cake. It may be necessary to beat the mixture with a wooden spoon to make it spread more easily.

To Bake:

While the ganache is cooling, you can make the cakes.
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Butter the sides of the cake tins and dust with flour, then line each base with a disc of baking parchment.
Using an electric food mixer, whisk the eggs and sugar together on a high speed for several minutes or until light and mousse-like.
In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder and chocolate pieces, then fold into the egg and sugar mixture. Divide the batter between the prepared tins and bake for about 25 minutes or until golden on top and lightly springy to the touch.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tins for 10 minutes, then loosen around the edges using a small, sharp knife. Carefully remove each cake before transferring to a wire rack to cool down fully.

To Decorate:

When the cakes are cool, place one upside down on a cake plate or stand, then spread over some of the ganache to about 4–5mm thick.
Place the second cake on top the right way up and use the rest of the ganache to cover the cake completely. Using a palette knife or the back of a spoon, lightly flick the ganache to make peaks all over the cake.

You can decorate the cake to suit whatever theme you have in mind, for the Easter theme I used Cadbury’s flakes shaped into a nest and added 3 mini-eggs. I also lined the bottom of the cake with mini eggs.

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Apple Meringue Cake

One of the more unusual cakes I have ever made is a birthday cake for my Nana. I asked her what cake she would like and she replied that she would love an apple tart (Easy Peasy I thought) with meringue on top! (Erm… not so easy) and if a cake like that appeals to you, this recipe is a must.

apple meringue cake

Apple Meringue Cake

First Step is to make the Apple Cake, the recipe for that is here: Make sure that the apple crumble cake is ready and cooled before you make the meringue icing.

Ingredients:

  • 4 large egg whites
  • 250 g caster sugar
  • Pinch of salt

It is also preferable that you have a piping bag with a 4 or 5 mm star shaped nozzle

To Make:

Place all the ingredients in a heat proof bowl, add 2 tablespoons of cold water and set over a saucepan of simmering water.

Whisk slowly, using a balloon whisk until the sugar has completely dissolved and the mixture is foamy. Continue to heat and whisk until the mixture reaches 60°C when measured with a sugar thermometer – this will take about 4 minutes.

Quickly remove the bowl from the pan and pour the mixture into the bowl of an electric food mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whisk on a high-speed for about 3 to 5 minutes or until the frosting is very thick, glossy and has cooled.

Pour the icing into a piping bag and pipe over the cake in swirling motions.

I warmed the cake up in the oven before serving.

apple meringue cake

Nana’s Apple Meringue Birthday Cake